Arts & Activities  

      Color expert Dan Bartges is author of the book, "Color is Everything"
( Visit his website at
      Assignment 9 In A Series Of 10      
      MAY STUDENT PAGE      

Does a painting's color scheme have to be perfect to work? As explained this month in the "Answers" section, the answer—fortunately for all of us—is no. This month, we're looking at color schemes in paintings and in everyday life, as well as looking at some compositional considerations.

The more you know about color, the better you'll paint, and that's the goal of our 10-part series. All you'll need is a standard color wheel, available at any art-supply store.

HOW IT WORKS Each month, study the two featured paintings on this Web page and, with your color wheel, figure out their color schemes. Next, download and print the "Quiz Me!" document, write in your answers to the questions, then hand it in to your art teacher. The correct answers will be made available on next month's Student Page.

      For a quick review of color-scheme basics, click here for an informative article: The Magic Moment.      
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Dan Bartges. Canoeist in Winter. Oil.

I began painting this scene while standing on a bridge over the James River after a snowstorm. Was there really a canoeist? No, not on that particular day. But I felt the painting's composition needed something near the bottom for two reasons. First, to help establish the foreground to give depth in the painting, and second, to lead the viewer's eye into the scene. Recalling how popular the river is with boaters, I decided to add a canoeist. In preparation, I drew the canoeist several times in my sketchbook to get the perspective right, then painted him into the scene.



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Everyday uses of color: Hanging basket of petunias. Photograph by Dan Bartges.

Remember, your newfound knowledge of color can be used in all sorts of ways—interior decorating, gardening, flower arranging, the clothes you wear, set design, party decorations, crafts and more. Anything that's enhanced with coordinated color.

Here's an example. My daughter had just planted some flowers in this hanging basket. Before buying the plants at the garden store, she carefully planned her purchases so all the colors would harmonize. Can you figure out the color scheme she used?

      QUIZ ME!
Click here to download May Quiz Me! document

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